Greenleaf Bioretention

posted Jun 20, 2017, 10:12 AM by Howard Ecoworks

Howard EcoWorks constructed our first bioretention facility in the Greenleaf neighborhood in Columbia. The facility was designed by Howard Soil Conservation District in 2015. Funding was obtained from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Howard County in 2017 to construct the project. Construction began on 4/6/2017 and ended on 5/19/2017. During Howard County Public School System’s Spring Break, the week of 4/10, nine high school students spent the week with the current READY crew to undertake the majority of the excavation. Approximately 80 cubic yards of soil was excavated BY HAND from two 800 sf cells. Rick Cascioli of Clarkesville did assist with some of the grading with a track loader and track backhoe. On 5/15, approximately 15 Columbia Association volunteers also assisted by adding biosoil to the cells! The facility treats a 1.17 acre drainage area that is 30% impervious. It will remove 9.1 lb/yr of nitrogen, 0.6 lb/yr of phosphorus and 659 lb/yr of sediment reduction. The project cost approximately ~$16,000 with a contribution of ~1,000 labor hours! The neighbors are very excited to be doing their part to protect the adjacent local stream and Green Infrastructure Network!

For more information, check out THIS FACT SHEET.

First Landscapes For Life Class Graduated at Howard County Dept of Corrections

posted Apr 7, 2017, 2:25 PM by Howard Ecoworks   [ updated Apr 14, 2017, 11:50 AM ]

We were really excited to graduate our first Landscape for Life class at the Howard County Department of Corrections.  The group learned sustainable gardening practices over a course of (5) 2-hour lessons.   Four minimum security in-mates will proceed to constructing their own on-site sustainable garden with native plants in the coming week.   They received certificates at the end of the program that may help them secure landscaping jobs upon release.  Several were excited about the lessons that they can use in their own lives, "Once you get a sustainable garden going, it will require less maintenance (work) for you," reported one participant.  Good job Howard EcoWorks team for providing these valuable lessons and thank you Howard County Department of Corrections, Howard County Office of Sustainability and the MD Department of Natural Resources for support.  UPDATE: Please check out this video produced by Howard County's Public Information Office:

READY is hiring!

posted Mar 15, 2017, 1:48 PM by Howard Ecoworks   [ updated Mar 15, 2017, 1:49 PM ]

Applications for the summer READY program are open!  We're looking for young people 16-26 years old who wish to make a difference in the Howard County community, work hard and build lasting friendships.  Visit our website to apply for a Crew Member, Assistant Crew Leader or Crew Leader position.

In addition, we are looking for extra help during Spring Break - the week of 4/10.  If you are interested in an Alternative Spring Break to make some extra money AND make a difference in the community at the same time, please contact the RAEDY Program Manager, Nicole McDaniels:

New projects underway in 2017!!

posted Feb 25, 2017, 12:32 PM by Howard Ecoworks   [ updated Mar 15, 2017, 1:38 PM ]

We are very excited to kick off two new projects in 2017, both focused on community engagement and both generously funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust

The first project, Howard County Neighborhood Greenways, is being completed in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and will focus on outreach, education and restoration activities in Columbia and the surrounding community in support of Howard County's Green Infrastructure Network, our most valuable ecological resources in the County.  We will conduct three community workshops in 2017 and  construct two bioretention facilities to treat more than 0.5 acres of impervious surfaces.  These bioretentions will be the READY program's first construction of engineered stormwater management practices! 

The second project, Ellicott City - Soak It Up,  to be completed in partnership with the Ellicott City Partnership, is a grassroots watershed engagement project that aims, in the long-term, to convert more than 700 acres of turf grass in the Tiber Hudson watershed to permeable and native landscapes.  We have received a small grant to develop branding and marketing materials as well as construct a 150 sq ft rain garden and 4500 sq ft conservation landscape at St. Peter's church!

READY Receives Melanie Teems Award from Chesapeake Bay Trust

posted Jan 19, 2017, 7:43 AM by Howard Ecoworks   [ updated Feb 6, 2017, 5:20 PM ]

READY received the Melanie Teems award from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. This award recognizes a program that engages residents in efforts to improve the Chesapeake region’s natural resources through demonstration-based projects or programs, serves as a model for other organizations, and motivates and inspires other organizations and/or individuals by promoting environmental engagement throughout the community. We are very thankful to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and Howard County Government for their strong support over the past 5 years!

The Ellicott City Watershed

posted Dec 28, 2016, 5:11 PM by Howard Ecoworks   [ updated Dec 28, 2016, 5:27 PM ]

If you live or work in the Ellicott City watershed, the Tiber Hudson watershed, you can commit to helping your downstream neighbors in a number of ways!  Stay tuned for more details as we unveil a new program effort Ellicott City - Soak It Up that aims to engage those that live and work in Ellicott City’s watershed in small best management practices and non-structural actions that will improve conditions for their downstream neighbors.  

With increasing intensity and frequency of storms associated with climate change and subsequently more “top down” flooding, the need for upstream stormwater controls has become readily apparent from the 2011 and 2016 flood events. Watershed engagement and identifying individuals and associations that support behavior change and project implementation is essential to achieving a critical mass of support for long-term solutions.   And, with approximately 20-30% of the Tiber Hudson watershed covered in turf grass, we have more runoff than we would have with native vegetation such as meadow grasses, native perennials and native trees and shrubs.  These vegetation types help to increase permeability and overall infiltration capacity of the landcsape.

We are currently seeking grant funds for this effort and aim to kick off our campaign in spring, 2017 with a demonstration project at St. Peter’s Episcopal church.  Our project at St.  Peter's will convert 4500 square feet of turf grass to native vegetation and a rain garden.    On May 6, we will celebrate our garden and St. Peter's contributions to watershed efforts at their 175th Anniversary event!

Do you live in the Eliicott City watershed?  Check the map and type your address in the search bar to find out!

Howard EcoWorks

More than 300 trees planted this week!

posted Nov 9, 2016, 11:44 AM by Howard Ecoworks

The crew has been busy planting this week.  Monday and Tuesday were spent in Edgewater, MD where they planted around 275 trees with the South River Federation and MD Conservation Corps.  On Wed, they quickly planted 60 more trees in Columbia, MD with the Columbia Association.  It's been a great week so far!

Planet Protection Program

posted Oct 14, 2016, 3:26 AM by Howard Ecoworks

The Planet Protection Program is a student organization consisting of high school students around the county that works to eliminate environmental apathy, provide environmental community service opportunities, and educate local community and peer members.

Our organization will be hosting an open meeting to promote membership on Saturday, October 22 from 10am-11:30pm at the Ellicott Room in Miller Library for all 8th-12th grade students.  Our organization invite any interested 8th - 12th graders to attend our open meeting to meet our committee chairs, members from other schools, and engage first-hand in the experience of the Planet Protection Program.

If you are interested or know someone whos is interested, please sign up for our open meeting at:

We hope that participation by a greater variety of schools will allow school environmental clubs to exchange more information for the opportunity to create a more environmentally-conscious community.  Hope to see you then!

READY helps to clean up Ellicott City after the 7/30 flood

posted Jul 10, 2015, 11:11 PM by Eric Eckl   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 12:21 PM by Howard Ecoworks ]

The READY crew spent more than 1,000 hours and removed more than 13,000 lb of debris and bulk trash after the 7/30/16 flood event in Ellicott City.  The crew has been conducting regular maintenance in the Ellicott City channels over the past year.  If not for the crew's past work , the flood may have been even worse. 

CleanScapes Garden Installations

posted Jul 10, 2015, 11:10 PM by Eric Eckl   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 12:19 PM by Howard Ecoworks ]

READY has been selected as a contractor for Howard County to install residential rain gardens in the Little Patuxent watershed.  See if you qualify for the program and sign up! Howard County CleanScapes Communities

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